Snow White and the Huntsman.
This, like a whole lot of films, was one I watched during the Long Winter of 2013. During that period, I had a job that could eventually be described as thus: Go and sit on your own in an office for eight hours every day, with only a computer that didn't have internet access. My consumption of films and TV series during that period was staggering, including the entirety of Strike Back and Dracula, about five different Christmas films, and just about any other film that interested me. Snow White and the Huntsman, which I had been aware of mostly in its capacity as 'that one Snow White film that is coincidentally coming out almost at the same time as that other Snow White film' was one of the later ones I watched.
(I've never seen the other Snow White film, incidentally. Something for a rainy day, perhaps.)
Snow White and the Huntsman is the ... ugh, the dark action re-imagining of Snow White, and god knows I'm tired of those. Deposed and imprisoned by sorceress queen Ravana, who restores her youth by sucking beauty out of people (and the film cannot seem to decide whether beauty in this instance refers to some kind of beauty of spirit or actual physical attractiveness), Snow White escapes and finds herself allied with the brawny, dangerous Huntsman as she gathers a resistance force to take down the queen.
|Also, Xerneas shows up, but he's not really relevant.|
Okay, firstly, while I do not find this nearly as offensive as the 'let's take a story about a woman, change it to being about a woman and a man, and change the name to some kind of adjective' trend of late (hey there Tangled), or the 'let's take a story about a woman and filter it through the trend of a Men's Rights Activist's (are they calling themselves 'Meninists' now?) tortured mind until it's all about a man' trend (hey there Oz the Great and Powerful), since Snow White is still very much the main character, and the Huntsman very much one of her supporting cast, I am a bit annoyed.
Really, guys? You had to take the extremely minor male character and amp up his importance for your gritty action reboot? Did you just not think you could get that prized sweaty teenage boy demographic in seats if they couldn't stare at Hemsworth's rippling muscles before hurriedly spraying another coat of Axe on themselves?
|Can they not get flustered over Sam Claflin instead?|
Why not just have him not be a major character, like he is in the source material you're using. Have Snow White carry the film on her own. She's not short on people to interact with, she has seven dwarves. Hell, if you need a love interest who isn't the prince, then Peter Jackson has demonstrated for you that Hot Dwarves are absolutely a thing that audiences will accept.
As far as the film goes on quality, though, it's, um, it's just kind of there. The scenery is very nice, but none of it is remarkable. The OST is sufficient, but forgettable. The acting is, for the most part, okay: Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth both put in performances that are perfectly fine, but really nothing else - I realise that some people may have wanted me to say Stewart's performance was terrible and wooden, but it wasn't, I had no problem with it.
Probably the best members of the cast were Sam Claflin, playing a childhood friend of Snow's, and Charlize Theron, who puts in an extremely hammy but very fun to watch performance as Ravana. At one point, we had Sam Claflin playing Charlize Theron playing Ravana, and that was a treat to watch. Everyone else was just kind of passable.
|But hey, four for you and your creepy throne, Charlize.|
The plot wasn't quite up to even that standard, though, being poorly paced and with several plot holes, not the least being that the film swung back and forth between 'we intend fairest to mean physically attractive', with things like women cutting their faces so that Ravana won't come for them, and 'we intend to fairest to refer to some kind of spiritual property', with characters talking in hushed tones about how 'fair' Snow is while magical animals swear fealty to her. I'm good with either, to be honest, but please, please make up your mind.
The fact that it wasn't a box office flop can probably be largely chalked up to star power, with Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron drawing in audience members, because this film is every bit as forgettable as its trailers made it out to be. Not really bad, not really good, just kind of aggressively middle of the road. Still, it killed a couple of hours, and at the point where I watched it, that was really all I could ask of it, so good show. Ten out of ten.